by unhappybirthday

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"The trio that makes up unhappybirthday come from Wismar, a small and very old city in Germany that has almost always been small. If you’re like me, you might know the town from its contribution to the formation of the Hanseatic League, an important thirteenth century trade federation and mutual defense pact formed by several important Northern European commercial cities. Wismar is a much simpler place today and as the band tells it, rather isolated and contended with its slow pace while they were growing up. A single record store in the city made that unchanging tableau a little more dynamic, connecting them with bands like the Raincoats, Young Marble Giants, and Units; ultimately inspiring them to make their own music, taking a synth heavy approach to 'Neue Deutsche Welle' – or, literally translated, new German-wave. Their debut album Sirup is a collection of songs written since the band resolved to make it their own way, renting a house together and making music nonstop. By their own description, these songs are 'sometimes washed out like a raindy or sticky like chewing gum', but never without a 'pretty melancholic root to howl'. 'Molly' is a sad prom-night-song about undefined yearning, while 'Kalt' is more bleak, with cold synth tones stabbing, freezing the listener’s heart. These songs are direct and purposely catchy, but intimate – they seethe, too restrained for anything but a slow burn, regardless of tempo. Together, unhappybirthday is shaping a new reality for themselves and we can hope that the success of Sirup might inspire a happy occasion for them next year." –Dwight Pavlovic

"Unhappybirthday are a bunch of glum Germans hailing from the tiny Baltic port of Wismar, which, last time I checked, had a population of less than 50,000. So, really, what else is there to do there besides start angry, yet hook-laden, coldwave bands?" -The Stool Pigeon

"...sounds an awful lot like Future Islands covering some part of the Mega Man X soundtrack . . . The whole tape is touched with that kind of down-tuned 80s tiredness... shaped in the basements of bored teenagers messing around with synthesizers and playing video games. Kind of sounds like when I lived in Iowa." -Tiny Mix Tapes


released 04 September 2012




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Crash Symbols is a West Virginia label focused on exploring the evolving role of music in being human; though we aren't too heavy-handed about that. Our focus is on forward-thinking works of all kinds from all areas. You may see more things than others, but our catalog hopes one day to acquire consciousness and that requires a true diversity of experience. ... more

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